Tom on 'Playing Drunk'

Tom has been included in an article in today's Guardian about actors who have to play drunk on stage.  Here's what he had to say:

"Anything carbonated presents the greatest problem, as demonstrated in Laura Wade's play Posh at London's Royal Court last year. One of the most outrageous binge dramas of recent times, it satirised the behaviour of an exclusive Oxford drinking society reminiscent of the notorious Bullingdon Club to which members of the Conservative party, including David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson, belonged. The play climaxed in a trashing of the set, and featured a tricky enactment of the custom of sabrage, in which the neck of a champagne bottle is sliced off with a sabre.

"We had to use a real Bollinger bottle for that as sugar glass would have shattered," says Tom Mison, who played the society's president. "At one point I had to drink an entire bottle at one go. We started off with grape juice, but then I discovered I was getting too much of a sugar rush so we switched to coloured water instead."

How does one go about researching such extremes of inebriation? Mison says the cast was inspired by a newspaper report of a group of German actors at the Frankfurt Schauspielhaus who decided to experiment by using real vodka in a Russian play, which resulted in one of the cast falling off stage and being taken to hospital to have his stomach pumped. "We decided we ought to have a go at that – in private, of course – so during rehearsals we booked a room in a Soho pub and attempted a 'wet run', in which we tried to consume as much alcohol as the characters do in the play. We couldn't keep up."

The play brought one further issue into painful relief: "Part of the rules of these drinking societies is that no one is allowed to leave the room," Mison explains. "The minute the curtain came down, there was a stampede for the backstage loos – we developed some seriously impressive bladder control during the run.""

 

Many thanks to flip for spotting the story!

 

Photo courtesy of Elliott Franks